News and Views
Has Kobane become vortex of death for ISIS? As U.S. airstrikes obliterate fanatics and Kurds suck them into street ‘meat grinder’, experts say jihadists have finally made strategic miscalculation
- Islamic State militants may live to regret encouraging street battles with outgunned Kurdish forces inside Kobane
- Barbaric terror group’s tried and tested ‘pincer movement’ has previously forced enemies to retreat or even defect
- Previously used to seize vast swathes of territory in north Syria and west Iraq, where security forces melted away
- But Kobane is surrounded by desert, with Turkish border only 200 yards to the north, so Kurdish troops cannot flee
- Now Kurdish troops are engaging terrorists in street-to-street battles – a tactic that doesn’t play to ISIS’ strenghs
Islamic State militants have made fatal strategic mistakes in Kobane, allowing American and Arab warplanes to obliterate them from the air and Kurdish forces to suck them into unfamiliar ‘meat grinder’ street battles, an expert has claimed.
During the four-week battle for Kobane, ISIS has used the same tried and tested ‘pincer movement’ it deployed during the rapid seizure of vast swathes of northern Syria and western Iraq earlier this year.
In the majority of those lightning advances, ISIS was able to capture towns and cities with little to no resistance – as the group’s reputation for torture and brutal murder ensured local security forces either defected or abandoned their posts, rather than face certain slaughter at the hands of the fanatics.
But as Kobane is located less than 200 yards south of the Turkish border fences and is surrounded largely by desert, the massively outgunned Kurdish fighters there have had nowhere to flee, encouraging them to gather in the centre of town and defend the city in furious street-to-street battles.
This is a tactic that does not play to ISIS’ considerable armament strengths and leaves the militants out in the open for lengthy periods, where American and Arab warplanes can easily pick the fighters off.